10 Things I Hate About You is a 1999 movie that manages to adapt the plot of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew into a modern setting. The names of the characters make it no secret that the movie is based on the play: Patrick is Petruchio’s counterpart, and the two sisters are named Kat and Bianca. Just as King Baptista declared in the play that no one may court his refined daughter Bianca before his more uncivilized daughter Katherine is married, the two sisters’ father in the movie establishes a rule that Bianca, the most popular girl in school, can’t go to the prom unless her standoffish sister is dating, too. Two of Bianca’s classmates who each want to date her employ the help of Patrick to persistently ask Kat out until she consents, and in the process, she becomes a more sociable person.
Patrick’s methods of “taming” Kat aren’t as cruel as in the play—he doesn’t starve her, for example. Instead, he generally acts foolishly to show her that it is okay to lighten up. I feel this was a better route for a movie intended to be a lighthearted comedy free of sexist undertones. Aside from this difference, the parallels between the play and the movie are abundant. It is interesting that a play written in the time of kings and courtship can be modified to fit a high school setting. It shows that some concepts are truly timeless, and Shakespeare’s storyline is a familiar idea regardless of the age in which it is told.